A Superb Mid 19thC Elm Boston Rocking Chair


Origin: American
Period: Mid/Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1850-70
Height: 42.5 inches
Width: 23.5 inches
Depth: 26.5 inches
(all at maximum points)

The spindle back elm seated ‘Boston Rocker’ Rocking Chair having the traditional rolling seat, curved arms, large crested top trail, seven concave spindles with open arms and bee hive turned legs and stretcher on sleigh rockers survives from the third quarter of nineteenth century America.

The chair has a lovely deep and rich colour and expected patination to the right areas with the seat and arms bearing the richest patina. There are three of four old wormholes but nothing of concern and the piece is stable and rocks beautifully. There has been one old repair to the chair with one of the spindles a later replacement. This aside, the piece is in original condition.

Boston rockers as they are known originated in 1830 and it became very popular in the mid 19th century and were once described by the pioneer American furniture historian Wallace Nutting as “the most popular chair ever made, which people sit in, antiquarians despise and novices seek.” From 1830 to 1890 the Boston rocker was the standard American rocking chair. Its popularity spread from New England across the nation, and it was exported to France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, China, and India. The earliest versions were handcrafted, but after 1840 Boston rockers were mass-produced by many makers. What distinguishes the classic Boston rocker from other rocking chairs are its gracefully scrolled seat, high spindled back, spool turnings, and rolling crest and headpiece. The first Boston rockers, which were as likely to have come from Connecticut as from Boston, were made of oak with solid pine seats.

A chair that achieves the heady combination of relaxation and movement, mobility and repose with sufficient style.